Demi Cinta had quite an interesting trailer, with lots of fourth wall break and intriguing narration. It wasn’t that funny, but it was enough to raise my expectations. I thought it would be like, you know, Promise with less budget and more dose of alayness. I didn’t expected it to be a means for me to laugh at heteronormative couple problems. Pretty sure that’s not what the movie intended, but that was the only way for me to enjoyed that movie. Because I just find it unrelatable on so many levels.
Bagus (Ricky Harun) is a high school graduate with no job who lived with his cousin Masbin (Tora Sudiro) in a cheap flat. I didn’t even know they were cousins until I clicked its Wikipedia page in an attempt to find more information about this movie, but okay. It doesn’t matter anyway. Seriously, whether they’re cousins or just best friends does not contribute anything to the story. Moving on. Bagus is head over heels for their neighbor Cempaka (Farali Khan), a Director’s secretary. But of course, he’s too shy to let her know. So he just peeped at her from across the building every morning. Yes, it’s as creepy and pathetic as it sounds. Although this movie – and most people, I suppose – would argue that it’s just sad, how he doesn’t have the confidence to go up to her and say hi. Pfft.
Alas, Masbin had the answer to Bagus’ predicament. If the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then surely the key to a woman’s heart is wealth and status. Surely Cempaka would look at him if he got a job at least as a manager. But since that’s too hard, then money is the answer. As long as he got money and flaunt it, Cempaka would definitely fall for him. Now I don’t approve the stereotyping of women as materialistic, but you’ve got to admit there’s hard truth in that. Love cannot feed you and it can’t put a roof over your head. And yeah, you can argue that money can’t buy you love, but it does make love far more affordable. And after seeing a guy with fancy motorbike dropping Kamala home, Bagus came to believe Masbin. He needs money, ASAP.
BUT. Since he’s just a high school graduate who can’t do much, Bagus decided to take a short cut. Following their ex-neighbor Syamsudin’s (Teuku Rifnu Wikana) footsteps, they approached mob head Toni Montana (Barry Prima) (the character is totally fictional and any resemblance in name or job or characteristics to Al Pacino’s iconic mobster is just a random coincidence) for work. Toni, however, demanded proof that Bagus and Masbin could actually be evil henchmen. So the two decided to, wait for it, kidnap Amara’s (Titi Kamal) son Agra (Agra Svanabhumi)… and his babysitter Sandra (Nasya Marcella). Yes, they accidentally kidnapped his babysitter too because Bagus is seriously that
dumb innocent. Thing is, they only found out later on that Amara is actually, believe it or not, Toni’s mistress. And so they’re left with no choice but to run for their life… in series of dumb shenanigans.
Dumb movies are okay. I had no qualms against them, and I even raved about one earlier on. And Demi Cinta does make laugh. Hysterically. Because it was so dumb and cringeworthy I had no other reaction but to laugh on its face. I mean, seriously. I know it’s just a comedy movie and it’s for fun, but don’t it at least need to make some semblance of sense? The premise itself is questionable. Yes, I know people do some stupid things for love and there probably is no shortage of story about people who fell with the wrong crowd all for the sake of love. But at least, do it for the sake of actual proper love that’s worth fighting for. Not for some skin deep crush based on just how beautiful they are. Honestly. If some soul-bond lovers from long-time relationship aren’t worth committing a crime over, then such high school crush definitely does not worth it. And yeah, I’ll concede to the idea of kidnapping as an easy crime. It does looks easy, kidnapping an empty house like that, compared to robbing a bank or any other place with higher chance of being identified and chased after. Fine, it does looks no harder than taking candy from a baby. And it makes sense for them not to know about Toni’s relationship with Amara if she’s just his mistress. Fine, fine. I know this is supposed to be a mindless entertainment and I shouldn’t put too much thoughts into it. It’s just like Mr. Bean or Dumb and Dumber, where I should just be taking everything those characters do as good fun and laugh about it.
Thing is, to be able to do that, it need to actually be funny. And Demi Cinta was not funny. Not even in the slightest. Most of the jokes fell flat and the punchline didn’t deliver. Not to mention it was all built on such sexist and stereotypical frame of thoughts. I understand that perhaps, it wants to play on something that most people could relate to. Such as deciphering what a woman mean when she says “no” or “up to you”. And deciphering whether or not she’s flirting with you by, god help me, purposely flailing her hair around. But it’s outdated, it’s stale, and frankly it’s insulting because it relies too much on heteronormative stereotypes. Pardon me if I sounded a bit elitist and condescending here, but I honestly feel like those problems only befall the most basic and heteronormative couple. Haven’t we gone past time where we says and does such things? But okay, maybe I am the weird one and I haven’t been in touch with reality. Because others in the cinema actually laughed at those jokes. So perhaps those are the norms in dating nowadays. In that sense, then allowed me to actually be a condescending elitist by sating that I had so much fun laughing at those heteronormative couple problems through the movie.
And anyway, for such kind of dumb movie to be entertaining, shouldn’t the character be at least interesting? I’d prefer if they could be lovable and appealing enough to got me laughing along with them. But I know not to expect too much and I’d settle for interesting characters. Who at least doesn’t seems like they’re purposely being written to create trouble. Like Ricky Harun’s Bagus. I know he’s being written as someone who was too innocent and “pure”, but he came off as dim-witted because his logic just was not sound. I could appreciate people who had their own weird way of thinking and unconventional logic, god knows I’m surrounded by such people on daily basis and even idolizing some 4 dimensional human being, but Bagus was not one of them. He’s just downright exasperating. And far too wealthy for someone who’s struggling with unemployment. Really. There was a scene where we could see what’s inside his wallet and I kid you not, it’s far more than what I got in mine. Even on good days after I got paid. Nasya Marcella’s Sandra, like Bagus, alsowas meant to be that innocent girl from a small village outside the big city. But, she came off as annoying and she gave me the urge to splash her with a bucket of cold water. The only good thing that came from this movie was Tora Sudiro’s chemistry with the adorable Agra. On screen (and off screen before the screening), the two looks so comfortable with each other. It’s the kind of chemistry that made me smile and yeah maybe I am a bit weak to boys who are good with kids, but Agra was seriously adorable. Those two was the only reason I managed to stay sane during the movie. And Titi Kamal, who was just as beautiful as per usual.
Demi Cinta was a dumb comedy movie about struggle for love. Only it wasn’t funny and romantic. It is a great way for someone like me to make fun of and laugh at basic heteronormative couple problems, but that’s that. If it actually made fun of the stupid things people do in the name of love with decently written characters, perhaps I would have enjoyed it. But it didn’t. Instead it only got finger curling dialogues and dense story development, and not even enough to make it a “so bad it’s good” flick. Definitely not my cup of tea.
Director: Azhar ‘Kinoi’ Lubis. Writers: Syamsul Hadi & Fatmaningsih Bustamar. Released on: 19 January 2017. Casts: Tora Sudiro, Ricky Harun, Nasya Marcella, Titi Kamal, Verdi Solaiman, Ibob Tarigan, Barry Prima, Teuku Rifnu Wikana, Agra Svanabhumi.